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Judge Upholds Pennsylvania Voter ID Law; Opponents to Appeal

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 10:09 By Scott Keyes, ThinkProgress | Report

Vote Here sign in Pennsylvania(Photo: TheNerdDilettante)In a blow to voting rights advocates, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson upheld the state’s restrictive voter ID law, which could disenfranchise as many as 750,000 citizens in the state.

Though voter ID proponents were unable to cite even a single case of voter impersonation that would justify the ID requirement, Simpson “didn’t rule on the full merits of the case,” instead limiting his scope to whether it was a proper exercise of the legislature’s authority, according to the AP. They continue:

The original rationale in Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Legislature for the law — to prevent election fraud — played little role in the case before Simpson since the state’s lawyers acknowledged that they are “not aware of any incidents of in person voter fraud.” Instead, they insisted that lawmakers properly exercised their latitude to make election-related laws when they chose to require voters to show widely available forms of photo identification.

Voting rights advocates plan to appeal the case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which will likely issue its own ruling before the November election. There is currently an even 3-3 split between Democrats and Republicans on the Court; the 7th Justice, Republican Joan Orie Melvin, is under suspension because of an unrelated corruption scandal.

Since Simpson ruled to uphold the law, Democrats will need one crossover vote to win a majority and strike down the law. Chief Justice Ronald Castille, a moderate Republican from Philadelphia, is most likely to side with the Democrats.

The federal Justice Department is also looking into whether Pennsylvania’s voter ID complies with federal law.

Originally published on ThinkProgress

Scott Keyes

Scott Keyes is an investigative researcher for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Scott went to school at Stanford University where he received his B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Sociology. He has appeared on MSNBC and TBD Newstalk TV and been a guest on many radio shows. His writing has been published by The Atlantic, Politico, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott comes to DC from southwest Ohio, a state very near and dear to his heart.


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Judge Upholds Pennsylvania Voter ID Law; Opponents to Appeal

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 10:09 By Scott Keyes, ThinkProgress | Report

Vote Here sign in Pennsylvania(Photo: TheNerdDilettante)In a blow to voting rights advocates, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson upheld the state’s restrictive voter ID law, which could disenfranchise as many as 750,000 citizens in the state.

Though voter ID proponents were unable to cite even a single case of voter impersonation that would justify the ID requirement, Simpson “didn’t rule on the full merits of the case,” instead limiting his scope to whether it was a proper exercise of the legislature’s authority, according to the AP. They continue:

The original rationale in Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Legislature for the law — to prevent election fraud — played little role in the case before Simpson since the state’s lawyers acknowledged that they are “not aware of any incidents of in person voter fraud.” Instead, they insisted that lawmakers properly exercised their latitude to make election-related laws when they chose to require voters to show widely available forms of photo identification.

Voting rights advocates plan to appeal the case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which will likely issue its own ruling before the November election. There is currently an even 3-3 split between Democrats and Republicans on the Court; the 7th Justice, Republican Joan Orie Melvin, is under suspension because of an unrelated corruption scandal.

Since Simpson ruled to uphold the law, Democrats will need one crossover vote to win a majority and strike down the law. Chief Justice Ronald Castille, a moderate Republican from Philadelphia, is most likely to side with the Democrats.

The federal Justice Department is also looking into whether Pennsylvania’s voter ID complies with federal law.

Originally published on ThinkProgress

Scott Keyes

Scott Keyes is an investigative researcher for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Scott went to school at Stanford University where he received his B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Sociology. He has appeared on MSNBC and TBD Newstalk TV and been a guest on many radio shows. His writing has been published by The Atlantic, Politico, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott comes to DC from southwest Ohio, a state very near and dear to his heart.


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